Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Progress at the Property

{Let me just preface this by saying that if you own a "diamond in the rough" 5 acre property, who needs a workout??!! With all the cutting and pulling, digging and lifting, my arms are in better shape than they have ever been! And I love it!}

I thought I would show you some of the things we have accomplished in the many weekends we have spent at our eventually-to-be homestead. I find it rather remarkable to think that we have owned this property for one whole year already. Just means we are one year closer to building! Yay!
With a larger property, it only makes sense to break it down into smaller sections. We are starting with the SW corner of the property since it is the first thing you see when you drive on the current driveway (which we are in the process of moving. It requires many large trees to be cut down but it makes much more sense then winding the current driveway through the yard.) In that corner of the property was a long row of Shubert Chokecherries, approximately 75' long with a smaller 25' row of lilacs butting up to them. Now, I love the red color of the shuberts and the berries are great for jam and syrup. I made many jars this past season. However, I did not like the blackknot that was rampant throughout the trees. Blackknot is a fungal disease that leaves large abnormally shaped black chunks on the branches and affects the trees itself leaving the whole think looking a little less than pretty. It is hard to control once established, spreads easily and I knew it would be more work to prune the trees and follow with fungicides for years to come rather than to pull them out. So, we decided to rip them out. It was a rather physical job made much simpler with a little help from John Deere! First, Jay dug into the roots to loosen them a little then we wrapped individual clumps with a large heavy chain and ripped them out of the ground. It worked quite well. Directly behind this row of shuberts/lilacs was another row of lilacs that were a little spindly looking. With the trees out of the way, I am expecting them to fill out nicely, especially if I cut them down a little.

Once the trees were gone, we killed the grass in a large area, tilled it up, brought in some topsoil, and made a new flower bed 100' long and 50' deep, semi-circular in shape. The size of that one bed is larger than my current front yard, I believe! I bought 3 trees in the spring and planted them here, 1 12' Autumn Blaze Maple and 2 smaller Sienna Glen Maples. They will look fantastic as they grow and show off their red leaves each autumn! This winter I will plan the rest of that bed with the landscape design software I bought for $2 at a garage sale many years ago.

As soon as you drive onto our property, you notice the mature spruce trees lining the south side. They are beautiful trees but a little neglected. About the bottom 6' or so of the branches were completely dead. Dead branches do not look nice, especially on an evergreen. So, I took to cutting all those dead branches off the 15 or so spruce that form part of the perimeter of our property. That is a lot of branches! It was so worth the effort since it looks so much tidier. Right behind the spruce are a few more rows of trees/shrubs that need serious tiding but that has been put on hold as we tackle removing the trees where the new driveway will be, about 100' over from where it is now.

A bunch of the branches and trees that were pulled out were piled into the garden and somehow a little den was formed. The kids loved playing in there! Just imagine the big bonfires we will have as this is the smallest of a couple of piles!

Finally, this past Saturday, I made a tire swing for the kids. There were many tires kicking around when we bought the place and we have yet to take them away. So, what does one do with extra tires and perfectly arched willow trees? Create a tire swing, of course! That one event tired me out just trying to throw the rope over the tree. First I tried throwing the whole spool of rope but that was a little heavy and I wasn't getting it high enough. Then I found an old toilet seat lying in the leaves (seriously, the amount of garbage we have discovered is ridiculous!). I used just the bottom portion, tied the rope to it, and threw it like a disc or frisbee. It actually worked! I cleared out a large area below the swing of the stickes, leaves, large iron rods and other junk so that the kids would have a safe place to play. I mowed a path so even baby girl Ari can wander down there with no chance of getting hurt! With the amount of willows and tires on hand, I could make a swing for each of the kids and still have plenty to spare!!

I absolutely love working at the "new country", as the kids still call it. I love the quiet, peaceful feeling that comes over me. I love the possibilities. I love the fact all the kids can play outside with a lot less concern from me. I marvel at the nature God has created and am blessed beyond measure that we get to call this place home. Jay and I have spent many hours together working up a sweat and everytime I remember what a great team we make. I love that we get to make this place ours, together. When you have to put your blood, sweat and tears into it, it becomes even more special. And, I am thankful that it is raining this week so I can actually get some work accomplished here that has been seriously neglected thanks to the unbelievably amazing fall weather we have been experiencing. Seriously, it is October 26 and we still haven't experienced a "hard frost." -2C, -3C, maybe even -4C but that is it. I still have begonias blooming on the north side of my house! Very, very unusual and very appreciated. We don't take that for granted here on the prairies! Now, I just need to get the perennials from here dug up and transplanted over there! All in due time, right?!


  1. Wow, you have been SO busy, but it's already looking wonderful. I can't wait to see what you do with that huge new planting bed!

  2. Way to go for tackling such a huge project! It's amazing what a little "tree tidy-up" will do!! I look forward to watching the project unfold!


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